Menopausal mom to 2 young adult sons (one with ASD, ADHD, tic/seizure disorders and the other with attitude).

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Want vs. Need

I know I said I would not speak of my #LosetheBooze Challenge anymore.

I lied.  Why??? 

Because on Thursday I am officially calling the Challenge OVER!!!  Why???

Because on Thursday I am going away on a girls weekend and well…DUH!!! 

I’ve thought about many things over the past 24 days, 3 weekends, 2 National Drink Days and 1 special occasion. Vodka, gin, wine to name a few.  :P  Believe it or not I even had an “Aha” Riley World moment.

My mother used to ask J2 when he was younger “Do you WANT it or do you NEED it?” Born during the Great Depression, she knew how to make that distinction.

Many times this past month, I could not help myself from thinking about the number of days I had left before I would be done with this stupid idea Challenge. It started off as the odd thought. Some days I thought about it when 5 o’clock somewhere rolled around. Who am I kidding. That happened almost every day. ;)  Then there were times when I obsessed about it…if for no other reason than the fact that I could not have it (much like food and dieting for me). Basically…I just wanted this Challenge to be done. And counting down the days helped me realize there was an end to all this madness.

That’s when it hit me. My obsessing over the number of days I had left just might be what it is like for Riley when he can’t stop talking/asking about the same thing over and over and over again. Makes sense right?? 

Only for Riley, his is more of a need than a want. Not always but many times. Because communication is difficult for him, he uses what he knows (repeating himself over and over and over again) in order to reassure himself that something will/won't happen which, in turn, provides a sense of comfort and security for him.

Sure there are times I feel like I need an adult beverage. The stresses of Riley World sometimes take a toll on me. But for the most part…I’ll admit…I just want one. I mean really, REALLY WANT one!

 See you next week!!!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

The Challenge Continues...

It’s been 14 days, 2 weekends and 1 special occasion since my last adult beverage. Yup…still counting.

I promise not to keep dwelling on this…well…after this post.

Things have been going relatively smooth in Riley World so not much news to report on that front. We bailed again on snowshoeing this morning. As soon as my alarm went off at 6:45 flippin’ A.M. (remember it’s a Sunday morning), I immediately checked the snow report. When I read the words " is going to be a wet one today - bring your best weather outerwear"....yea...that pretty much made my decision for me. 

Having sailed through the first week of my #LoseTheBooze challenge, I have noticed a few little changes in myself this past week. 

Two things happened. Two days in a row. Two words. Road. Rage.

It is one of those things that ordinarily does not bother me. Strange. I know. G has enough for the two of us. Without going into all the boring details I will say both involved left turns and ended with me screaming like a woman possessed in one case and irritated as all hell (and I wasn’t even driving) in the other. Oi-vay.  

The other ummmm incident involved Riley World. If you are new here you might not realize just how limited Riley’s menu is and the lengths I have gone to efforts we have been through to try and increase it. So it is an unspoken rule in our house that a Riley food is off limits. Period.

Unless of course you are 14 days, 2 weekends and 1 special occasion into a challenge you should have never started in the first place. Then…all bets are off.

Four words this time. Salt and Vinegar chips. I saw them. I wanted them. I opened them. 

I left the clipped bag on the counter beside R's Cheerios. I happened to be in the kitchen at the time he noticed them. He looked at the chips. He picked up the chips. He stared at the chips. He then looked at me rather confused. I sheepishly tried to look away.

R:  Who borrowed my chips?
Me:  I’m sorry. I had some.
R:  *slightly annoyed*  You're sharing with me!
Me:  Yes. Thank you for sharing!
R:  *full on annoyed*  SHHHHHAAARRING!!!

So yes I have stooped to a new low. Taking a preferred food from my special needs son. Who Does That!?!?!  I’ll tell you who…a person who has not had an adult beverage in 14 days, 2 weekends and 1 special occasion.

15 days until I can quench my thirst...

Friday, 12 February 2016

A Serious Lapse in Judgement

About a month ago I was driving home from a fitness class when I heard an ad on the radio to #LosetheBooze for the month of February to raise funds towards cancer research. For some reason this piqued my interest. Obviously I was delirious from my workout.

Then I thought I would propose this idea to my dragon boat team. We are all about supporting each other and doing things as a team. We could do this together! So I immediately sent out an email to rally my comrades. I knew not everybody would be in favour but I was sure a good number would be up for the challenge.

I could not believe the underwhelming response!  Everything from hysterical laughter to “Are you kidding me!” to “I would rather give up food”. WTH?!?!?

I did manage to rally a couple of team mates and J2. I'm paying out of pocket for J2 to join me. I'm a glutton for punishment.

It’s been 12 days. 278 hours. 16,680 minutes. Of course I’m counting!

It’s gone surprisingly smooth with the exception of a couple of ummm “moments”...both Riley World related. I know it is not an excuse. It is our reality. Yet there are still times when the stresses of life with autism can get so overwhelming I am ready to crack. And at those times I’ll admit, for me, a little adult beverage is enough to take the edge off.

So why the heck would I even contemplate such a stupid (“don’t say that word” *in Riley’s voice) idea??? I…I…I got nuthing.

Will I ever do this again?  HELL NO!  Once is most definitely enough. 

17 days and counting…

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

An Aspiring Michelangelo???

Both boys have a history of being less than enthusiastic about doing art projects. When they were little (pre-Pinterest days) we never did anything crafty or artsy in our house. I suppose if I had any interest in doing arts and crafts…that would’ve been a different story.

Part of the resistance to arts and crafts for Riley is that does not like to get his hands dirty. At. All. Yes, it’s a part of his autism…a sensory thing. The other part…well if you know G…it is definitely the G gene…no doubt about it.

The other day when I picked R up, he handed me a bag with 3 wrapped pieces of pottery.

Me:  What have you got there?
R:  Hedgehogs! 

Later at home, I unwrapped the pieces and found these…

I...I...I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure hedgehogs have those spiky things all over their body.  ;)

OR...just maybe...they were newborn hedgehogs. Could be. Right?? Well I was not right. Apparently even newborn hedgehogs have those spiky things all over their body. I looked it up. 

The third piece?  Lucky for you…I asked.

Me:  Riley, nice art!  What did you make??
R:  Hedgehogs.
Me:  What’s the third one?
R:  I don’t know.
Me:  Is it a…… *pausing to let him answer*
R:  *gives me the side-eye* 
Me:  …………
R:  I don’t know! *getting annoyed*
Me:  Is it a mouse?
R:  NO! It’s an animal!
Me:  What kind of animal?
Me:  Is it a pig??  *if you look closely you’ll notice a ‘P’ on the side*
R:  NO!
Me:  Then what kind of animal is it?
R:  *pauses*  It’s a mouse. YOU’RE TALKING!!!

When we decided to do an art class as part of the IWNS (InclusionWorks! North Shore) program, I knew this would not be a huge hit in Riley World. Especially the pottery section. But for Riley, it is all about exposing him to different activities whether he likes them or not. One never knows when he will actually take to something.

Make no mistake, whether Riley sees me opening the bag he hands me or not…when he brings home an art project or anything else he makes, you’d better believe I am all over it!

As for Riley…does he enjoy/like art any better these days??  I’ll let you be the judge.  :D

Monday, 1 February 2016

Let's Be Honest...
Transitioning to Adulthood is Scary

A year ago I wrote a post Phase 2: Adulthood…“In Progress” and was excited to start sharing with you some of the plans we had brewing for Riley World: Adulthood.

And then…

I got all overwhelmed and did the old rocking in the corner, breathing into a paper bag thing.

That was a year ago.

Now before I lose any more of you, at least watch this video clip of R's fitness class (part of his new program). Guaranteed to make you smile! 

Feel better??  Good.  

*Pats seat*  Come sit by me. I’ll even share my wine with you.

If you have a teen or are fast approaching the teen years, you are probably getting asked those “I-don’t-want-to-think-about-it” questions while plugging your ears and humming incoherently to yourself.

What happens when your son/daughter finishes high school and may not be ready or want to go on to a post-secondary institute? 

What happens if your son/daughter may not be ready for a paying job?

Am I right???  

*Grabs wine bottle*  Here…let me fill your glass up again.

I remember hearing “There is NOTHING out there!”

I remember thinking surely these people were exaggerating. There had to be something out there. Right?  RIGHT??

Well…there are programs out there. Only…the sad truth is there are not enough programs out there. And…what is available may or may not be appropriate, suitable or a good fit for your son/daughter.

So then what?!??!  

*Opens new bottle*  More wine???

Quick recap for you…

Four years ago this September Riley World started school for the last time.

Two years ago at a Transition Committee meeting I attended, another parent found a program on the Island that sounded like a good fit for Riley. The program is a family governance model called InclusionWorks! It is an individualized, age appro­pri­ate, community-based pro­gram started by a group of parents for their young adults with developmental disabilities.

In September 2015, after over a year of planning, organizing and an enormous liquor bill…we (a group of parents) formed an InclusionWorks! “grouping or pod” in our community.  

We all had the same goals in mind for our young adults…

Being a part of their community
Getting to know people in their community
Becoming involved in their community.

We started our 2nd semester in January. It’s been stressful and exhausting to say the least. But to see our young adults getting out there in their community in a meaningful way……keeps us motivated and the liquor stores in business.  

Coming soon...programming and the partnerships we have formed.